Writers' Forum - September 2021

NEW AUTHOR PRO COURSES: Traditional Media Promo, Audiobook Production, and more Free Guides!




New Author Pro Courses

As promised, here are two new courses for authors, one will teach you how to gain attention for your book with traditional media and the other will help you expand your author revenue stream by creating audiobooks.

How to Promote Your Books with Traditional Media

Learn how to find and connect with local, regional, and statewide media outlets in order to be featured in newspapers & magazines or on television & radio stations. I'll teach you strategies for finding an attention-grabbing hook and building a professional media kit, including a well-written press release, book information sheet, and more! Learn more . . .

Listen Up: Audiobook Production for Authors

We'll discuss why authors should produce audiobook versions of their stories to expand their revenue streams and examine the details (including costs) of the most popular production paths with ACX and Findaway Voices. You'll get tips on how to pick your narrator and work well with them to ensure a great finished product. We'll finish up with the best audiobook promo and marketing advice. Learn more . . . 

Check out my entire Author Pro Course Catalog and my newest FREE Guides:

10 Steps to Query Letter Writing Success

Tools to Make Your Writing Life Easier

13 Book Marketing Tips for Before, During, and After Your Launch

Brave New Writing and Learning to Think Outside the Book

If you’ve hung out here for any length of time, you know one of my favorite publishing industry pros is Kristen Lamb. Her blogs are always humorous and on point. I highly recommend her quick recap of the evolution of publishing and her personal observations of the (nearly) the last two decades. I promise you will laugh and also learn something!! https://authorkristenlamb.com/2021/09/brave-new-writing-learning-to-think-outside-the-book/


Of all the publishing professionals out there, I probably rely on David Gaughran’s advice the most. In fact, as I type this, I have no less than 10 saved emails from him in my inbox that I’ve kept as ‘unread’ so I can go back and read them more carefully. His marketing advice is focused on indie or self publishing; however, as so many traditionally published authors need to do their own marketing, you all should check him out, too. He offers valuable advice for all stages and types of published authors for sure. He regularly points out the bad actors in the publishing world that are often spoiling the fun for the rest of us. 

I highly recommend that you subscribe to his newsletter. (He gives you wonderful freebie for signing up, his book Following.) Check out is blog at THIS LINK and click the yellow “join now” button to sign up.

About David Gaughran:

David Gaughran lives in Portugal these days but originally comes from Dublin – where the rain comes up from the ground and everyone has pints for hands..


He is the author of the historical adventures Liberty Boy, Mercenary & A Storm Hits Valparaiso, and has helped tens of thousands of authors to self-publish their work via his workshops, blog, and books such as Let’s Get Digital, Let’s Get Visible, Amazon Decoded, Strangers to Superfans, BookBub Ads Expert, and Following. He has been featured in the Telegraph, the Irish Times, the Guardian, the Irish Examiner, the Sunday Times, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Forbes, Mashable, New York Observer, Newsweek Polska, il Giornale, The Star Malaysia, and a smattering of Wanted posters.


In May 2020, he was one of the recipients of the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award along with John Picacio. SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal said, “David Gaughran has been doing yeoman’s work for years, alerting indie writers about predatory schemes and warning them about changes in independent publishing. His work makes the science-fiction and fantasy landscape safer for writers.”


You can check out his books for authors here, and his fiction at DavidGaughranBooks.com.



How to End A Novel

Rhiannon Richardson writes an excellent post for the Good Story website on novel endings. Writing craft talks spend a lot of time covering beginnings, so an article focused on the elements to consider for our novel endings is kind of refreshing. Read the full article here. 

Plot Twists: Types of Twists and They’re AMAZING for Stories

Okay, it’s clear this Writers’ Forum is going to be a bit of a Kristen Lamb lovefest. Her article about plot twists was a timely read for me as work on (struggle with) the plot in my mystery novel. No matter what type of novel you’re writing, this article will be useful to you as all novels need suspenseful elements.


Writers Block: Is it Laziness or a Critical Part of Being a Longtime Author?

This is another must-read gem from Kristen Lamb. Again, funny and insightful, Lamb’s article gets to the hard of professional writing challenges. She says, “Suffice to say that writing will always be tough work, and the challenges will never evaporate, only change. When we are new, pre-published authors, we are literally in the process of learning an incredibly difficult skill. While having talent is definitely an asset, it’s only one piece of a giant puzzle. . . . writing can get really overwhelming and, if we fail to develop good habits, laziness definitely can be at the root of writer’s block. It’s just SO much easier to repaint the house than it is to knock out a thousand words, right?” Read more . . . 

Binging is BIG: 3 Simple Ways to Make Your Series HOOK Your Readers

Oh, man, here I am again. I guess you know I was hanging out over on Kristen Lamb’s blog all month. This is a great look at how you can make a series work and thus tap into that ever-needy binge-reader market. Those folks are series writers’ best friends for sure! Read it HERE.

How to Make Six Figures Self-Publishing Children’s Books

Darcy Pattison writes this post for Jane Friedman’s blog detailing ways to make some major money in children’s publishing from kickstarter campaigns to series writing and on to diversification of formats and distribution, and more!



Do You Need Keywords to Get Into Certain Book Categories?

Dave Chesson’s article dispels the old advice that you have to use certain keywords in order to qualify your book for listing/ranking in certain categories. This is how it USED to work for certain categories, but no longer. Check out the full info and advice here: https://kindlepreneur.com/keywords-for-categories/

How to Minimize Your Publishing Costs

Dan Parsons writes a super helpful article for Mark Dawson’s website, telling us that we “don’t need to spend like a lottery winner to see our books succeed.” He shows us ways to keep our costs low while building our author business.

How to Format a Book

Dave Chesson’s article is the best tutorial on book formatting I’ve seen, detailing all you need to know about book formatting. Super helpful and generous assistance. Even if you think you know all the steps, take a few minutes to click through his modules. It’s easy to quickly peruse the info and add to your bank of knowledge.

Book Disclaimers

Continuing on with items you need to consider as your format your book, this article Helen Sedwick for the Book Designer website addresses what your disclaimer should include and how you might write your own unique disclaimer that fits your work. https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2021/09/getting-creative-with-disclaimers/


Maximizing Your Book Sales with Merchandising

As you read this headline are you wondering what merchandising is? Well, it’s not marketing . . . exactly. Here’s what Dan Parsons says: “At first glance, it’s easy to confuse merchandising with marketing, but there are clear differences; namely, marketing is a long-term activity that can happen anywhere while merchandising is typically short-term and conducted on retailer property, be it in-store or on their website. Customers who encounter it have already crossed the threshold and are ready to buy.” Examples of merchandising are book placements on special tables or the end of aisles. He gives tips on how indie published authors can pursue merchandising relationships with book retailers. Interesting read!

4 Steps to Creating a Winning Paid Social Media Campaign

Barb Drozdowich presents this appealing and easy-to-follow infographic with the four steps for creating ads that work for social media platforms. These are general tips that work across different platforms, but I find this a good list to help you begin the process.

How to Sell More Books Using TikTok

TikTok is definitely the new platform to learn for marketing your books. I’ll be honest that I haven’t taken the deep dive into this platform and how it can work to market books. But here’s an informative TikTok marketing podcast from Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Format website to help you out.  

Getting Started with BookBub Ads: Promoting a Debut Novel

Carlyn Robertson gives tips on the BookBub Partners blog for using this platform to advertise your first book. These are helpful hints and good introduction for using the BookBub ads system. https://insights.bookbub.com/bookbub-ads-promoting-debut-novel/

How to Use LinkedIn Stories to Promote Your Business

Another wonderful infographic from Barb Drozdowich shows you how to use LinkedIn stories for your business. These are workable and useful for many types of businesses, including books/publishing.

Instagram – Updated Facts for 2021

Yup – Barb Drozdowich is back with another cool infographic, this time with updated Instagram statsDid you know that Instagram has 14x more engagement than Facebook and 27x more than Twitter? Check out those and other stats here

Happy Writing (formatting, marketing, and more!) - Valerie  

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